Mosul – Iraqi forces on Friday took over more of the last few remaining areas in western Mosul’s Old City as Islamic State militants give their last breaths in their biggest stronghold.
The Iraqi Joint Operations Command said Counter-Terrorism Service troops took over Shaarin market, Nabi Girgis and Abd Khoub in the Old City.
It said earlier that the forces consummated the recapture the of al-Farouq area, which falls adjacent to the Nuri al-Kabir Mosque where IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi proclaimed the group’s rule over Iraq in 2014.
Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi on Thursday hailed the recapture of the mosque by government troops, saying it stands as an announcement to the fall of IS’s self-styled “caliphate”.
CTS commander Abdul-Ghani al-Assadi said in statements on Friday that the final liberation of Mosul could be achieved within a few days, noting that only between 200 and 300 IS fighters were remaining in the city, adding that those were mostly foreign nationals.
Iraqi forces, backed by a U.S.-led coalition and paramilitary forces, launched a major offensive in October to retake Mosul. Operations managed to liberate the eastern side of the city in January, and charged at the western side starting February 19th.